Woods withdraws from Safeway Open


The long-awaited return of Tiger Woods has been delayed after the 14-time major winner pulled out of this week's Safeway Open.

After three operations on a troublesome back injury, Woods was due to make his first PGA Tour appearance since August 2015 in Napa.

However, the 40-year-old has opted to withdraw from the tournament as well the Turkish Open in November in order to further refine his game.

Woods said in a statement: "After a lot of soul searching and honest reflection, I know that I am not yet ready to play on the PGA Tour or compete in Turkey.

"My health is good, and I feel strong, but my game is vulnerable and not where it needs to be.

"When I announced last week I was going to Safeway, I had every intention of playing, or I wouldn't have committed.

"I spent a week with the US Ryder Cup Team, an honour and experience that inspired me even more to play.

"I practiced the last several days in California, but after a lot of hours, I knew I wasn't ready to compete against the best golfers in the world."

Woods confirmed he plans to play in December and offered an apology for letting down his fans.

"I will continue to work hard, and plan to play at my foundation's event, the Hero World Challenge, in Albany," his statement continued.

"I would like to apologise and send my regrets to Safeway, the Turkish Airlines Open, the fans in California and Turkey and those that had hoped to watch me compete on TV.

"This isn't what I wanted to happen, but I will continue to strive to be able to play tournament golf. I'm close, and I won't stop until I get there."